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Queen - 1989 The Miracle

ALBUM: The Miracle
LABEL: Parlophone
SERIAL: CDP 79 2357 2, CDPCSD 107
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: Refer reissue list..


LINEUP: Freddie Mercury - vocals * Brian May - guitars * John Deacon - bass * Roger Taylor - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Party * 02 Khashoggi's Ship * 03 The Miracle * 04 I Want It All * 05 The Invisible Man * 06 Breakthru * 07 Rain Must Fall * 08 Scandal * 09 My Baby Does Me * 10 Was It All Worth It * 11 Hang On In There * 12 Chinese Torture (extra) * 13 The Invisible Man (12' version, extra)


After the triumphant Magic tour of 1986, it became evident that Freddie was not 100% well. He kept busy though, dabbling in some solo bits and a startling opera styled duet with Montserrat Caballe, 'Barcelona' being the result and a substantial hit as well. When Queen reconvened for the next album it was clear he wouldn't manage a world tour, but every effort was poured into the composing of some classic AOR and the energetic video clips for the album's singles would have to suffice for those hungering for live Queen. 'The Miracle' hit the stores and the charts in 1989, here's what it had to offer.

The Songs
The opening two tracks 'Party' and 'Khashoggi's Ship' seem cut from the same cloth, Queen indulging in some tempo experiments of the day while never forgetting the irreverent lyrics. Some good hooks and riffs come into play, more so in 'Khashoggi's Ship' to my ears, managing to hold some AOR appeal. 'The Miracle' is up next, a mid paced loving rewrite of several great Beatles moments to these ears, this is not short on melody and has much to offer the listener. I preferred 'I Want It All' though, a power AOR excursion second to none, this embodied every Queen trademark in an updated late 80's AOR context. Not forgetting that metallic guitar solo bit just to remind everyone they could do anything they pleased stylistically! Probably a phrase I've used a little too much over the years is 'one of the anthem choruses of all time', well here it fits like a glove and smashes the AOR target to pieces. 'The Invisible Man' comes across with a certain funky element, John Deacon's bass very busy and prominent. Queen work this approach into another AOR framework though, melodic throughout and a chorus that seems cheeky in just the right measure. A nice touch that each band member gets announced at various stages of the song, but the matchwinning play has to be May's solo. Just how he created that cascading waterfall of notes spiralling around is a mystery to me. To this day I find this solo mesmerising.

'Breakthru' is up next, starting with a choral vocal coda, developing into a chugging uptempo full of hooks left and right, melodic all the while. Special mention to the crafted AOR chorus, which never fails to catch me unexpectedly. Terrific stuff. 'Rain Must Fall' is a slow burning ballad, pleasant enough for what it is and better than some of the dreadful filler on the previous album. 'Scandal' is another issue though, a bed of midtempo providing foundation for a classic Queen hook and dramatic melody to flourish. Pure AOR, reducing my unfortunate coffee meter to yesterdays news. 'My Baby Does Me' is the closest they get to drivel like 'One Year Of Love' or 'Pain Is So Close To Pleasure', best forgotten. Album closer 'Was It All Worth It' answers it's own question with a resounding yes, an AOR pomp rocker detailing the times and achievements the band had been through since the beginning, a nostalgia trip very well narrated and capped off by one of those choruses Queen have instant access to, a brilliant closing track I have to say.

In Summary
Although Queen had ceased to be a major draw in the States earlier in the 80's, 'The Miracle' was a resounding success in the UK and Europe, at least five of the tracks were major hits. The overall AOR sound on The Miracle carried over very well from 'A Kind Of Magic', with far less filler material on show. I'd venture to say this album yielded a handful of classics to the AOR canon. My enduring memory from this period of Queen will remain the performance video for 'I Want It All', geez a tour would have been something else, but not to be. Queen could play just about any style they felt like attempting. Happily for us they specialized in pomp AOR and made it their home.

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#1 | Eric on March 14 2014 16:12:56
Nice review Lee. An underatted album although 'Scandal' caught some flak for being filler. The video for the title track was a hoot.
#2 | Explorer on March 14 2014 19:35:51
A big improvement on 'Magic' which seemed quite disjointed.'The Miracle' has more of a flow about it and with tracks such as 'I want it all', 'The Miracle' and in particular closing track 'Was it all worth it' a return to something resembling their 70`s pomp. This album paved the way for the excellent 'Innuendo' which proved to be a fitting finale for a band without equal.
#3 | dangerzone on March 14 2014 22:56:22
This album is Queen at its rudest by a mile. How can you top 'The Invisible Man' or 'Breakthru'? Classic.

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